Character Sketch of Minnie Cooper in Dry September

Miss Minnie Cooper now in her late thirties was once upon a time the toast of the town. However, in an attempt to re-live the past she spends her day in the porch appearing in ‘a lace trimmed boudoir cap’, or kills her time by going downtown with her friends in her ‘new voile dresses’ and striking bargain for the sake of it. While she was a nubile beauty she was much sought after until her friends and the social circle became class conscious. Unlike her friends she could not come to terms with the reality of her aging ‘haggard look’. With ‘furious repudiation of truth in her eyes’ she still desired to be in parties. It was in a party when it hit her hard that she stopped socializing. That her friends’ children called her “aunty” proved to be a cruel reminder. Nevertheless she found solace in the myths of ‘popular Aunt Minnie” that she was in her younger years. None of which stopped her from finding a lover, albeit fleetingly, and who got her the attention she desired with his ‘first automobile in the town’. And twelve years later when she is castaway as an adulteress living a solitary life, the Cashier would still visit the town on the eve of the Christmas. Though she does not seem to have any lover as of now, she is still supplied with whisky ‘by a youth, a clerk at the soda fountain’ who believes ‘she’s entitled to a little fun.’ Amidst all this emptiness and a vague attempts to enact the past Minnie continues with her evening outings with young “cousins”. She tries her best to appear her best though the ‘lounging men did not even follow her with their eyes anymore.’ All this however changes in Section IV when she becomes the center of attention so much so that she has a fit and has to be taken home.

Miss Minnie Cooper whom we see in Section II and Section IV, is the one who has apparently made allegations against Will Mayes of having attacked her. It is interesting to note that the exact nature of violence is not named. That it is only a rumour that she has possibly levelled this charge is constantly affirmed by her previous ‘man scare’ stories. Also, it is McLendon who labels it as “rape” for the first time, and nothing in the text undercuts that assumption. With not a single utterance from her despite being at the heart of the rumour, Faulkner points to the silencing of women across cultures as the concluding section of the story also establishes.

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